Bryant in Kansas, responding to a couple of recent stories that touched on religion, says: “I’ve grown weary of your newsletter, and your anti-Christian bent. I always wonder why anything ‘Christian’ gets blasted and not any other religion? Don’t tell me that it’s because Christians are so narrow minded. I won’t buy into that one.”
Bryant, Christians, as a whole, aren’t narrow-minded, so it must just be you.
It does blow me away when I write about one religion’s dumb doings (such as a recent article about Muslim men being counseled to beat their women “gently”) and that‘s “funny” to fundamental Christians, but when I write another article about Christians doing something stupid, suddenly you forget about those earlier stories and accuse me of being “anti-Christian”.
Of course I’m not “anti-Christian,” Bryant: I’m anti-idiot and anti-hypocrite. If that bothers you, it only makes me wonder which one of those you are. And if others wonder what kind of story set Bryant off, please spend a few minutes reading my passionate arguments for true religious freedom — and tell me if you think that makes me “anti” any religion.
The above brought quite a few responses. But before I get to those, I want to say this: I think people calling someone “anti-Christian” is just as bad as accusing someone of being anti-Semitic. I think it’s a very serious thing to do, since it implies I work against their religious freedoms. In fact, I work for true religious freedom.
But people seem to feel free to make such outrageous accusations and point fingers at the drop of a hat. And why are they accusing me of being anti-Christian? Because I passionately argued for religious freedom in this country — something our Constitution is supposed to have already guaranteed, something Christians have benefited from to a great extent, yet some would turn around and deny the very same right to others. I called that hypocritical, and I challenged anyone to read my argument for this incredible Constitutional freedom and let me know if they thought I was “anti” any religion. No surprise: no one did.
Quite frankly, I get angry at such charges, and sometimes that anger shows. A few people think I overreact. That is, in part, because I excerpt the letters I respond to, and you haven’t seen all the back-and-forth that might have taken place. And that is, in part, because they’re not the ones being accused of bigotry for taking an egalitarian stand.
A couple of readers in fact expressed dismay at my vocal objections to those charges — that is, how I worded my reaction to “Bryant in Kansas”. (E.g., Bill in Texas: “I enjoy THIS IS TRUE, but I’m dismayed at your response to Bryant in Kansas. Not because of the subject, but at your unprofessional and antagonistic attitude when someone writes you with their own thoughts.” Well, Bill, if Bryant had “thought,” it wouldn’t have been a problem. As for my professionalism, I’m a professional ranter; that’s why people read True!) No matter how I approach such people, someone will be bothered. So be it; when people make vile, unjust and baseless accusations, I think that anger is a natural reaction.
So why do I publish such letters in the first place? Because I want readers to KNOW about the crap I get for sticking up for people’s rights. And, quite frankly, that’s what True is all about: showing just how stupid some people can be. (“What? He wants them dang foreigners to have the same rights as us Americans? Why, he must be an anti-Christian!”) As I’ve said in the past, it’s just fine if I make fun of something a cop does, yet I’m not labeled “anti-police.” It’s great if I make fun of something a stupid truck driver does, yet I’m not labeled “anti-highway transportation.” People think it’s just lovely when I rant against idiotic school administrators, yet no one thinks I’m out to stamp out education. Of course, to be fair, most people don’t think I’m anti-religion, certainly not the hundreds of rabbis, priests, ministers and other clergy of many denominations that read True every week.
I did, of course, get lots of support for how I worded that reaction — from Christians and “others” alike. Such as Darren in Missouri: “I, personally, am a born-again Christian. In fact, I work for a Christian radio station so I have to be very careful what it is that I talk about on the air. You’re right on the money: it’s not that you’re bashing Christians, you’re bashing idiots!! And, unfortunately, idiots worship in all religions and denominations. I think anyone (at least the intelligent among us) can appreciate it if the absurdity of a situation is pointed out — regardless of the religious overtones. Thanks for sending out a great service, and God bless!!!” (Don’t forget the hypocrites, Darren! Frankly, I think they’re worse than idiots because they should know better.)
Ken in New Hampshire: “I’d like to suggest that Bryant is not a hypocrite nor quite an idiot but rather someone just smart enough to realize that his faith is not justified.” Good point. I guess if he was secure in his faith, he wouldn’t feel so threatened, would he? It’s like the people who feel a need to prove things about their religions. If there was proof, they wouldn’t need faith, now would they?!
Which brings me to Gayle in Scotland: “I’m not sure if you’ve said, or not, and I’m really not sure. Are you, yourself, a Christian? Or does that really matter?” Gayle, indeed I’m glad that it’s unclear, because it doesn’t matter — it isn’t, and shouldn’t be, an issue here. I am secure in my beliefs, so I not only don’t feel a need to justify them, I feel no need to “convert” someone else from their beliefs, even if I don’t agree with them (since what business is it of mine?!) It leaves me able, when I see someone doing something stupid in the news, to report on their stupidity no matter whether they are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Atheist or other, and whether they’re a cop, a truck driver, an education commissioner, or anything else. It’s what I do, and it’s why the vast majority of readers subscribe!
So, am I really that angry? Heck no! Obviously I don’t like people calling me a bigot, but I laugh at the stupidity of that more than fume at it. Just as most readers enjoy reading these back-and-forths. So take it for what it is: part of the entertaining look at people being stupid — just the same as the rest of This is True!